Louisiana High School Principal Derrick Branstetter thought he had coached his last basketball game, but after being away from coaching for a couple of years, Branstetter realized he wasn’t as ready to leave the sport as he originally thought.
On Monday night, the R-II School Board unanimously approved for Branstetter to return to the hardwood, this time taking over the Lady Bulldog basketball program.
“The first year out of it I really didn’t miss it, but in year two and watching a lot of basketball I started to feel a little bit of a tug to get back into it and maybe I wasn’t as ready to move on as I thought I was. And then this year it got to the point where I realized I was looking at 12 to 15 more years in education – I couldn’t see myself doing it and not coaching,” said Branstetter in a phone interview this morning. “I miss the classroom as well. There are things with the principal’s position that I’ve liked, but it does take you further away from working with kids.”
As of right now it’s anticipated with Greg Purdum’s retirement that Branstetter will step back into the high school physical education and weights program teaching position. Nick Heggemann, who currently serves as middle school principal, will be taking over the high school principal spot. Superintendent Dr. Todd Smith said the district is currently searching for a middle school principal.
According to Branstetter, the girls basketball program will go through rebuilding years, much like the boys program did when he took over years ago.
“If you expect it to happen quickly, you’re just going to end up really, really frustrated,” noted Branstetter. “We are going to have to weigh things pretty heavily towards the skill side and we have to learn to compete a little more.”
Branstetter added the program will begin next year without the team’s leading scorer Kyjiah Clark, due to Clark moving out of the district with her family to Hannibal. Branstetter is expected to meet with the girls later in the week to discuss his vision for the team.